Ali S. Asani, PhD

Murray A. Albertson Professor of Middle Eastern Studies, and Professor of Indo-Muslim and Islamic Religion and Cultures, Harvard University
Ali S. Asani is Murray A, Albertson Professor of Middle Eastern Studies and Professor of Indo-Muslim and Islamic religion and cultures at Harvard University. A native of Kenya, Asani received his undergraduate degree summa cum laude in the comparative study of religion and his PhD in Near Eastern languages and civilizations from Harvard University. He has taught at Harvard since 1983, offering instruction in a variety of South Asian and African languages as well as courses on various aspects of the Islamic tradition. He has served as chair of the department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations as well as the director of the Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Islamic Studies Program (2010-2016). Asani has been active since September 11, 2001 in improving the American understanding of Islam and its role in Muslim societies by conducting workshops for high school and college educators and making presentations at public forums. He is particularly interested in the arts, broadly defined, as the primary means by which Muslims have experienced their faith and their potential as pedagogic bridges to foster a better understanding of the Islamic tradition and cultures. He has also served on the American Academy of Religion's task force on the teaching of religion in schools and as a consultant for the National Endowment for the Humanities Bridging Cultures Muslim Journeys Bookshelf Project. In 2002, he was awarded the Harvard Foundation medal for his contributions to improving intercultural and interracial relations. Asani also received the Petra T. Shattuck Excellence in Teaching Award from the Harvard Extension School in 2014. In 2020 he received the Harvard Foundation's Faculty of the Year award for his tireless effort in making Harvard an inclusive place.


  • PhD Harvard University